A small gate camp on the western boundary of the Kruger Park’s central zone. Orpen is a convenient starting point for whatever part of the park you plan to visit. Halfway along the main tarmac route leading eastward to Satara, travellers can turn right on the gravel road to reach the Big southern camps of Skukuza, Pretoriuskop and Lower Sabi or left to Olifants. The camp, which has a shop and petrol pump, can accommodate only a couple of dozen people. Orpen is a peaceful little camp situated at the Orpen Gate in the Kruger National Park, South Africa. Animals to look out for in this area are lion, black-backed jackal, blue wildebeest, cheetah on the open plains, white-backed vulture and lesser black-winged plover. A large variety of game may be sighted at the waterhole just outside the camp.
At a Glance
- Guest house and cottages
- Hut accommodation
- Lanterns lights in huts, as there is no electricity available
- Grocery shop
All units are serviced daily and supplied with bedding, towels and soap.
6-bed Guest Cottages with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms (one en-suite) and fully equipped kitchen.
2-bed Huts with fan, fridge, basic cooking utensils and veranda using communal kitchen facilities. There are 12 budget huts and 3 guest cottages.
The kitchen has a two-plate electric stove (without oven), refrigerator / freezer, and sink, cooking utensils, crockery and cutlery. The kitchen is located on an open veranda and the cottage is lit by electrical power. The budget huts come in combinations of either 2 or 3 beds and have communal ablution facilities, a washbasin and a veranda, but no air-conditioning, fan or refrigerator. Cooking utensils, crockery and cutlery are not provided. Lanterns light these huts, as there is no electricity available. There is also a first-aid centre and a fuel station providing petrol and diesel. A grocery shop can also be found inside the camp.
The surrounding area offers excellent opportunities for game viewing. On the drive from Orpen to Satara herds of Zebra and Wildebeest graze next to the road, while Giraffe, Impala, Warthog and Elephant are common. Turning off from this road to the Timbavati river northwards through pleasant scenery to Olifants camp, Lion, Cheetah and Leopard are likely to be seen. Orpen Camp also offers game drives, game walks, and night drives and from time to time wildlife videos are also shown. The plains around Orpen Camp are open as a result of bush clearing for agricultural purposes before the area was incorporated into the Park and a favourite area for cheetah.
The most picturesque route in the area is along the Timbavati River. The riverbed is an excellent place to find Leopard. Game can also be viewed at the Rabelais Dam. Two birds to look out for on the Olifants River are Whitefronted and Whitecrowned Plover, both of which can be seen in the riverbed. The bridges on the main tarred road and at Balule are the places to look for these species. Search the riparian trees on the Olifants River near Balule for the Pel’s Fishing Owl.
Camp bird-life in Olifants, like all camps is busy. Red-winged Starlings are particularly prominent. Trumpeter Hornbills and Pied Barbet are regularly seen in camp, and when the many aloe plants in camp are in flower, they act as a magnet for sunbirds. Rufous-bellied Heron has been recorded on the Olifants River.